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Modern Hoppers: How Many Bays?

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  • Member since
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Modern Hoppers: How Many Bays?
Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 7:13 PM

The other day I was debating on acquiring more (hard-ish to find) RD4 hoppers to my fleet to supplement what I already have or if I should sell what I have. I have about an even number of triples.  Curiously, while I was debating on if the two kinds would get mixed in service, I happened to watch a unit train going through town that sported the five bay rapid discharges mixed with the kind that has the two bigger doors that run the length of the car.  That raised my eye because they have very different discharge methods.  

Is there any reason that triples, quads, and so on would be mixed or not mixed in a train?  Does a customer have any reason to care one way or another, assuming they're not rotary dumping the cars?

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 8:07 PM

NittanyLion

Is there any reason that triples, quads, and so on would be mixed or not mixed in a train?

 

 

I believe standard triple and quad hopper cars would not play well with the rapid discharge kind.  And the rotary dump gons don't mix much with either of those.

However.

I do have a picture of a BN coal train that is all rotary dump gons with ONE rapid discharge mixed in.  I suspect the latter will also rotary dump, else being in the train might create problems.

Does a customer have any reason to care one way or another, assuming they're not rotary dumping the cars?

 

 

There are customers who take the whole train, and there are customer who take one car.  I expect either would care very much what kind of car(s) delivered their product.  The do, after all, have to empty the car.  So the car must match up with whatever they have on site to do that.

 

Ed

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Posted by angelob6660 on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 1:39 AM

When I watch coal trains of the Norfolk Southern on YouTube. I see different types of hoppers mixed in. Some 3 bay, with Bethgon coalporters, top gons, and a few 4 bays.

Very interesting. I don't know how NS decides to place their cars in order.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 7:15 AM

There are customers that still use standard bottom dump cars, in that case they can be mixed, especially if they are dumped over a trestle or one by one over a pit.

If they are rotary dumped one car at a time, uncoupled, then it doesn't matter as long as the car isn't longer than the dumper.

If they are being rotary dumped coupled in train, about the only thing that matters is length.  The cars have to match the dumper length so they only dump one car at a time.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 7:17 AM

angelob6660
Very interesting. I don't know how NS decides to place their cars in order.

They don't other than if the train is rotary dumped there has to be a rotary couplers against the engines and all the rotary ends have to face away from the double rotary car (there will be one car with a rotary on both ends.)

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by NittanyLion on Thursday, August 03, 2017 9:40 PM

So, the basis for my general question was thus: one of my customers is a steam plant for a university.  They had no on site storage for coal, so they got a pretty steady stream of hoppers.  Burned something like 70 tons a day in the winter, which meant that they got a good cut of cars weekly, up until they switched to natural gas.

They dumped one car at a time, inside the building itself.  If I'm following right, there's no functional difference for a place like this if the coal is falling out of three bays, four bays, or five bays?

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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, August 03, 2017 11:36 PM

NittanyLion

They dumped one car at a time, inside the building itself.  If I'm following right, there's no functional difference for a place like this if the coal is falling out of three bays, four bays, or five bays?

 

 

Not that I can see.

But.  There are "regular" hopper cars and rapid discharge hopper cars.

While rapid discharge cars can be unloaded singly, their reason for being is in unit train service.  Which is not what is being described here.

So, then, what are the odds of having a rapid discharge car showing up at your facility?

 

Ed

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Posted by NHTX on Saturday, August 05, 2017 9:44 PM

   NittanyLion,  visualizing what you said about your coal consumer, we are talking about an older installation, probably dating to when the twin hopper was king. If the cars were emptied inside a building, they probably dumped into a pit which fed the boilers.  It would be hard to imagine this pit exceeding 40 feet in length so, much more than a triple hopper of up to 100 ton capacity would be somewhat unwieldy.  At 70 tons per day consumption, your consumer would require seven 70 tonners or five 100 tonners per week.  Most steady users of coal also maintained a "cushion" or reserve in case of delivery disruption--thus the change to natural gas.  This backup supply might be held on on-site trackage or in a nearby yard, probably the same yard where the switcher serving the industry was based.  Your scenario could generate a lot of operating potential, enjoy.

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